At the annual staff meeting on 10 February 2005, the leadership of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda asked staff members for their renewed effort and commitment toward the timely completion of the Tribunal’s mandate.
The President, the Prosecutor and the Registrar of the ICTR met with about 700 staff to summarize the Tribunal’s activities and accomplishments for 2004 and to fix the agenda of programs for 2005. The officials thanked the staff for their continuous effort to enhance the achievements of the ICTR and called for an increase in their collective effort in all areas of the Tribunal’s operations.
The Registrar, Adama Dieng congratulated the ICTR President, Judge Erik Møse, and the Prosecutor, Hassan Bubacar Jallow, for their success in getting support and resources for the ICTR during 2004. He said that their efforts convinced the Security Council and Member States to fully support the implementation of the completion strategy of the Tribunal and to resolve the financial and personnel difficulties that the Tribunal faced in 2004.
The Registrar highlighted as achievements of the Tribunal, the implementation of the Outreach Programme and the creation of a support and focus group in Dar-es-Salaam called ‘’THE FRIENDS OF ICTR’’. The group is composed of seven diplomats. The objective of ‘’THE FRIENDS OF ICTR’’ is to sensitize the member States about the work of the Tribunal and to assist strategically the ICTR to discharge its mandate within the framework of the Completion Strategy.
Other achievements of the ICTR were:
1) Securing financial contributions in support of the activities of the ICTR from various donors;
2) Streamlining of internal processes and numerous reforms undertaken by the management;
3) Implementation of important cost-saving measures and introduction of new information technology tools;
4) Success of the Internship and Legal Researchers Programmes, which hosted a total of 152 interns and 23 legal researchers, representing 42 countries;
5) A total of 283 witnesses for both the Prosecution and the Defence were brought to Arusha from all over the world, for the purpose of testimony.
President Erik Møse highlighted some of the judicial achievements of the ICTR since June 2003. He said the Tribunal issued judgements involving 12 accused. This brought the total to 25 persons judged since the beginning of the trials in 1997. There are ongoing trials involving 25 additional accused.
The President said one challenge facing the Tribunal in 2005 was increasing courtroom capacity and scheduling new trials while handling the 8 trials already in progress. He noted that a fourth courtroom now under construction will make it possible to ensure even more steady progress in concluding the multi-accused cases which require many trial days.
A second challenge will be recruitment of staff to fill vacancies which have existed since 2004 and the retention of staff. He urged the Registry to move expeditiously in recruiting staff now that the hiring freeze has been lifted.
The Prosecutor, Hassan Bubacar Jallow stressed that 2005 should be no less –perhaps even more challenging. The New Year has seen the passage of a significant stage in the completion process with the conclusion of investigations into new cases by 31 st December 2004. With the assessment of the evidence gathered on the targets then under investigation, his Office should be reaching another important milestone later in the year, i.e. the filing of the last new indictments – if any – for the genocide of 1994. In addition, the Office of the Prosecutor will, in the course of the year, devote particular attention to ensuring the trial readiness of the cases of the rest of the detainees. The apprehension of the indicted fugitives will likewise be the subject of a sustained and well-organized tracking programme. All this of course will be in addition to maintaining the progress of the on-going trials.
The Registrar concluded his address by thanking the staff for its full support and impressive contributions which made his initial tenure a success and possible for the Secretary-General of the United Nations to ask him to accept a further extension of his current contract as Registrar for four more years, until February 2009. He said he humbly accepted the offer.
The President, the Prosecutor and the Registrar wished all staff a happy new year and committed themselves to greater collaboration with all ICTR staff members.